Karen Salo with the Prairie Oasis Animal Shelter holds one of the many cats currently being cared for by the group. The shelter is looking for homes for the animals, volunteers, and donations of food, blankets and toys. photo by Melanie Hoggan
By Melanie Hoggan
Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 1:16 PM MDT
The Prairie Oasis Animal Shelter (POAS), formed in November of 2009, is intended to be just that, an oasis and safe haven for animals on the Hi-Line prairie.
POAS was formed by a group of concerned animal lovers who wanted to provide an extension of services already offered by the Shelby City Pound. With Articles of Incorporation, a board in place, and their non-profit status in the works, the group meets weekly on Tuesdays at noon at the Toole County Library. Discussions center around looking for ways to raise money, making plans for the purchase of land, building a permanent facility, and ultimately working to meet the needs of animals who need immediate food, medical attention, and homes.
“We are trying to provide the best care for the animals we receive. We want to meet every physical and medical need that they have,” offered POAS secretary Mayme Ober.
The board of directors for the group are; President Karen Salo, Vice President Sycilia Stanford, Secretary Mayme Ober, and Treasurer Phyllis Robertson. Members at large include Elisha Dempsey, Sue Kasper, Francine Jacobsen, Bev Johnson, Gigi Merrick, Sue Brandt and Denise McCormick.
The POAS is a no-kill shelter and takes over impounded animals from the Shelby City Pound after an animal has been in the care of the city for seven days. At that point, POAS steps in and assumes care, feeding and the medical expenses of the animals.
Although POAS takes over the needs of the animals the City continues to house the animals at the city pound for now.
“After seven days, the city has been gracious enough to let us keep these animals there until they have a home. We have adopted 24 animals since November. Unless the animal is medically un-saveable we want to retrain and rehabilitate them,” explained Salo.
All of the many expenses associated with the animals thus far have been donated by the many volunteers of the POAS. “We had a cat that came in with an injury and we spent quite a bit of money on a broken hip. It was a wonderful cat, we named it Kringle. Through generosity of one of our members, they immediately took over the medical costs,” shared Ober.
POAS is asking anyone in the community who has a tender spot for animals to consider donating canned cat/dog food, dry cat/dog food, towels, blankets, toys, and dollars. “We will accept any donation of food, monetary donations, or volunteer hours. Currently our volunteers are providing everything ourselves that the animals need,” said Ober.
POAS is also hoping that when individuals are considering adopting an animal, that they will look first at the animals available right here in Toole County.
“Perhaps there is someone outside the city limits who would like either cats or dogs, has a barn, and plenty of available space for the animals to run. Please consider coming to us to see if we can find a fit,” suggested board member Bev Johnson.
Also on their wish list are foster families who will house, feed, and provide animals with necessary care as they are waiting for adoption. The POAS aggressively searches for homes by posting their animals on adoption websites and running ads in the local papers.
The organization has already had several businesses step forward to offer help in addition to the help they are already receiving from the city. “Mark Warilla from the City Pound has been very accommodating and supportive. Dr. Hardy Clark has given us discounts on most of the medical needs our animals have, and we have received training assistance from the Cut Bank Animal Shelter and the Bright Eyes Animal Shelter in Choteau has offered to help us with training,” said Ober.
If you would like to volunteer your time to help with the project, or to assist in anyway please call Mayme Ober at 434-2509. “It takes lots of volunteers and people to help us. We have so many homeless animals in our community that need some help,” concluded Johnson.